This morning in a joint announcement from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Ukrainian national broadcaster (NTU) it was announced that a total of 43 countries will compete at Eurovision 2017 in Kiev. This will include associate member Australia.Australia were invited to compete for the first time at Eurovision 2015 as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations with Guy Sebastian finishing in an impressive fifth place with ‘Tonight Again’. Initially this was supposed to be a one off, however the following year Australia returned to the competition with Dami Im who improved on the nation’s first attempt, finishing in second place with ‘Sound of Silence’.
Australia will compete again in 2017, following a recent clarification on EBU associate membership rules which state that
“Associates of the EBU may also be eligible to enter the Eurovision Song Contest, this is decided by the Reference Group, the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, on a case by case basis.”
The inclusion of this new rule has not only cemented the relationship between the EBU and Australian broadcaster SBS and could see Australia become a regular competitor at Eurovision but could also mean in the future the inclusion of other associate member nations including Iran, USA, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Syria, India and Canada.
The inclusion of Australia in recent years has been met with mixed reviews from Eurovision fans. While Australia continue to send some top notch acts with very good songs and have the tendency to finish quite well, they have been scrutinised for continual participation when it was meant to initially only be a one off. In addition to this other fans point to the fact that their inclusion is to the detriment of other European nations, i.e. Australia’s qualification results in other nations, who have full EBU membership, not making it to the Grand Final. While many other fans state that if Australia wants to compete in a song contest that they should begin one for their own Asia Pacific region.
While Australia have yet to reveal their Eurovision 2017 act, other nations have already begun their selection process. Both Cyprus and the Netherlands have revealed that they will be represented by Hovig and O’G3NE respectively, and Armenia continue with their X-Factor style national selection show Depi Evratesil .
The announcement this morning has confirmed that 43 countries will compete at Eurovision in May 2017. Returning to the contest after a year’s absence will be Portugal and Romania who had to withdraw in 2016 due to financial difficulty, while Bosnia and Herzegovina have had to withdraw from this year’s contest for the same reason.
The full list of competitors is below:
Austria, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Israel, Poland, Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Switzerland, Malta, Cyprus, San Marino, Moldova, Greece, Georgian and United Kingdom.